Nema and the Xenos. A story of soil Cycles by Ailsa Wild, Aviva Reed, Briony Barr and Gregory Crocetti in collaboration with S.Patrick Stock.

Hardback | August 2019 | $ 24.99
ISBN: 9781486312160 | 48 pages | 230 x 230 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour illustration

Have you ever wondered what actually is in soil?

Nema and the Xenos is a story about tiny creatures that live in the darkness of the soil. Creatures small enough that we need a magnifying glass or a microscope to see them.

But this book, like others created by Small friends books & The scale free network (Zobi and the Zoox & The Squid, The Vibrio and The Moon) brings the microscopic world to life and highlights the important role they play in our world.

It can be easily used in classrooms to explore life cycles, what soil is, sustainability and the need for soil, art and how it can represent complex or tiny topics!

The story begins with a tree crying out in pain (Trees send out pain signals into the dirt around them) as it is being eaten by a baby grub.

The signals are sent far and wide and reach some heroes, tiny worms called nematodes, who carry on their backs some wise and deadly bacteria called The Xenos.

It is once we meet these bacteria, through detailed picture from a microscopic view, that we see what these amazing organisms can do to save a tree, use symbiosis and continue a beautiful life cycle.

Nema and the Xenos is a clever story that enlightens readers ages 8-12 of the detailed nature of soil and it’s inhabitants.

The illustrations are scientific and picturesque allowing young readers to see scientific diagrams and words and link this to tangible natural objects.

Life cycles of the Nematodes and Xenos are detailed with easy to understand labels and descriptions and the different organisms that exist in the soil are labelled and described.

Soil plays such an important role in the existence of healthy life. Without this symbiosis and communication taking place within healthy soils, life cannot grow and thrive.

Readers aged 8-12, their parents, teachers and librarians will love this book. It links closely to the Science curriculum along with literacy and Sustainability.

Teacher notes can be found here:


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